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Customers Are Tipping Delivery Drivers. How To Get Yours.

Updated: Apr 8

Customer stiffing gig driver
This is a typical Rain Customer.

When it comes to tips, there are four kinds of customers. The first two are the dependable ones. They’re either gunna tip or not, no matter what. And they’ll usually tip the same amount (or percentage) or nothing no matter what.

The third type is the Rain Customer. This is a purposeful oxymoronic name because the Rain Customer doesn’t make it rain money but they’re famous for ordering when it rains. They are a selfish non-caring type of customer, and they rarely tip. On the occasion when they do tip, it’s more intentional insult than coin.

There isn’t anything that’s going to change the Rain Customer. They are inconsiderate and rude...why they’d rather have you come out in the rain instead of them.They feel entitled to free - everything. There is no midnight redemption for this Scrooge-esque eater.

If they had cancer and you gave them a cure, they’d use it for the sole purpose of living longer just to stiff. It’s in their DNA and I think they pass it on to their progeny, much like an athlete or actor passes on traits to their descendants.

The forth and final type of customer is much like the undecided voter. They’re waiting to see if you deliver well. In fact, I call this the Undecided Tip. This customer can be from the first category, they tip no matter what, and they do it up front. But they also add more on the end of the run. They tip for super service, quick delivery, or interactive appreciation.

This is where you increase your tips. You over-deliver. You exceed expectations, or…you just show your humanity.

screenshot of Uber tip
The Undecided Tip.

So, everyone understands quick service, but what do I mean by interactive appreciation?

Dominos knew this decades ago and they phrased it as a five minute experience. You have five minutes to impress the customer. That is three minutes on the phone and two minutes at the door. This is interactive time between the company and the customer.

Of course there is no interaction on the phone anymore, it’s all done via app. But you still have the two minutes at the door. Or, shall we say it’s down to less than that because that two minutes included the customer paying the driver. Nowadays it’s more or less a drop off and go scenario.

So…you have a small window to interact, and because of Covid you have no interaction at all in some cases. What to do? I use the interactivity of the chat feature on the driver apps. I use the chat to keep the customer updated on their order. Just the act of informing some customers that there is gunna be a long wait and that you got them spurs them to think about you. Throw a few extra bucks on the app for you. Your focus should be on making the customer always be thinking about tipping delivery drivers.

Newspaper sitting in driveway? Pick it up, bring it to the door. Do all you can not to put the food on the ground on a contactless delivery. Verify as much of the order you can and don’t forget those drinks! Restaurant out of an item? Call or text them to see if they want to substitute.

Almost always a sense of humor works. I send emojis to Grubhub customers and they seem to appreciate it. I get way more interactive customers than most other drivers I talk to. I bring some bacon for my customers dogs and they show their appreciation in the form of extra tips. I always find something to compliment, be it their car or the drapes. You always have that chat feature to utilize even dropping off the food for no-contact orders. Don’t just send a generic message generated by the app, personalize it…add to it.

screenshot of Grubhub app
Add something personal. An emoji in this case.

Listen. For all tech is, it also isn’t. People are made to interact with others. It’s called being human. About half or more of my customers appreciate the interaction. Some want nothing to do with me, and some customers I feel the same about. Those are not the ones that you are trying to reach. If you’ve been pre-tipped or pre-stiffed then your. customer has already made up their mind and they usually aren’t going to change, but a segment will. Unless you’re a mind reader you have no way of knowing who that is - unless of course you follow my blog and know that I recommend knowing intimately the area you work and then you’ll know your customers.

Grubhub screenshot
Communicate your humanity via a sense of humor.

In a world full of AI it’s refreshing to be able to talk to folks. Especially in the wake of Covid and lockdowns. People do appreciate a kindness or gesture that shows you care. They appreciate a compliment or smart humor. Just be sure you’re tasteful and mindful of what you say and how you convey it.

You will get some humorless folks from time to time and your ranking will suffer slightly for it. But it is far more gratifying to be loose and still professional than it is to be as rigid as a bro plank.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, is an old saw that sums up what I’ve been trying to tell you in this post. I’m telling you to let your personality shine. Let yourself go a little. Your customers will appreciate your efforts. Let tech do its thing and you do yours. You won’t regret it and neither will your customers.

Happy Trails

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